One of the things I like about SaaS inbound marketing firm HubSpot is the steady stream articles and white papers the company publishes on varied facets of marketing and communications.
They’re often quite meaty and beneficial as informational resources.
Moreover, HubSpot isn’t afraid to go out on a limb and render a pretty strong “point of view” about various factors and trends in the fast-evolving marketing world.
The risk is that some of those perspectives can end up being “off” – or looking even a bit silly – in retrospect.
But more often than not, HubSpot’s trendspotting is on the money.
Here’s a case in point: HubSpot’s team of analysts made a number of marketing predictions for the year 2013. Recently, it revisited those predictions to judge whether they’d turned out to be on the mark or not.
These are HubSpot’s 2013 marketing predictions that it feels were on target:
- Content and social will matter even more for search engine optimization.
- Stop-and-start campaigns will fade, and real-time will be ‘in.’
- E-mail will live on.
- Inbound marketing will spread enterprise-wide.
At the same time, four other marketing predictions for 2013 didn’t pan out so well, as underscored by HubSpot’s own cheeky editorial commentary about them:
- Mobile or bust … “Not so hot.”
- Marketing becomes accountable for revenue generation … “Meh.”
- ‘Big data’ becomes real for businesses … “Nope.”
- Print is dead … “Not even close.”
HubSpot’s post-mortem discussion points on these “misses” are interesting. Quoting from its report:
- Mobile or bust: “Customers pay attention to multiple screens … and smart marketers capture attention by adding value wherever a consumer pays attention … we need to be prepared, not by targeting just [mobile] but by embracing them all according to our specific customers and data.”
- Marketing becomes accountable for revenue generation: “The biggest challenge … has been proving ROI. Even more frustrating … has been the lack of sales and marketing alignment in many companies. Tracking can also get tricky, thanks to trying to reach fragmented digital audiences against so many channels … As much as lots of us really want this prediction to be a hit, it’s still largely aspirational.”
- ‘Big data’ becomes real: “Big data remains mainly a buzzword to many companies and markets — and continues to be more of a prediction than a reality …”
- Print is dead: “Saying ‘print is dead’ has lost pretty much all of its roots in reality … nor will it die in the next few years.”
Ever intrepid, HubSpot isn’t shying aware from new forecasts for 2014. Looking forward, what do its analysts predict for this year?
- Podcasting will continue to grow substantially.
- Marketing departments will become more like engineering departments.
- Social listening tools will gain context and get smarter.
- The economy will become highly collaborative.
- Marketers will become more holistic and less channel-focused.
And one more HubSpot prediction that’s a particular favorite of mine:
We’ll check back again a year from now to see how well HubSpot’s prognosticators fared this time around.